Mercedes Cooling, (98-12 F), has won a place at the prestigious Birmingham Conservatoire, where she will be studying music. Mercedes began learning to play the violin at West Buckland, aged six, following an assembly given by Sam Robinson, a violin teacher in the Senior School. She went on to study music at both GCSE and A Level and was an active member of the music department, but still doubted her ability to audition successfully for the music college, not even having taken her Grade 8 prior to the audition. However, her talent and potential was clearly recognised and Mercedes told the North Devon Journal that one day she aspires to play in the pit of the Royal Opera House or for the Birmingham Royal Ballet Orchestra. We wish Mercedes the best of luck with her studies and her future music career.